EasyJet has been named as the UK’s most complained about airline by flight compensation company EUclaim.
It received 15,499 compensation queries from the budget airline’s passengers last year, which was 5,612 more than for second place Ryanair, which itself attracted 60% more complaints than in 2015.
EUclaim said easyJet had knocked Thomas Cook off the top spot. The holiday airline came in fourth position in its ‘Carriers of Shame’ list in 2016.
Tjitze Noorderhaven, UK Manager for EUclaim, said: “We appreciate that weather conditions have been a major contributor to the high numbers of delays and cancellations experienced last year.
“Poor flying conditions throughout December as well as earlier on in March and June are likely to be a driving force behind the incredibly high volume of compensation advice we’ve responded to.
“However, whilst weather affects all airlines, some have been more efficient at reducing delays and cancellations. Thomas Cook for example has made great strides in improving its services.”
EasyJet defended itself, pointing out that it was the UK’s largest airline and has been commended in two reports by airports operator CAA, which said it was the only airline tfully complying on paying compensation for technical faults and received a ‘very good’ rating for how it communicates with passengers during disruption.
“In 2016 easyJet saw unprecedented levels of disruption due to factors outside of our control like French ATC strikes and air traffic control congestion in the London area and in Europe which led to a higher number of claims,” said a spokeswoman.
“We will always pay compensation when it is due and strongly recommend that customers apply directly to easyJet rather than going through firms like this one so they can receive all of their compensation and avoid losing out paying fees.”
Monarch improved its performance last year, falling out of the Carriers of Shame list altogether. The airline this week announced it was planning to further improve its complaints procedure by appointing an independent arbitration service to deal with certain unresolved complaints and claims.
CEO Andrew Swaffield said: “We treat all our customers fairly and consistently and we have always had a robust complaint process in place. However, with an on-going commitment to offer greater levels of customer service we have reviewed our complaints procedure and decided that we will appoint an Alternative Dispute Resolution provider as soon as possible.”
Thomson replaced Monarch as the UK’s fifth most complained about airline last year, with a total of 5,505 queries to EUclaim.
BA, which is the largest airline in terms of international passengers, remained as the third most complained about airline with 8,117 queries, which was its highest ever number.
Norwich was named as the airport with the most delayed or cancelled flights for the second year in a row, followed by Jersey, Belfast, Gatwick and Bristol.